Buy Local Month for the holidays



‘Tis the season to shop local! This holiday season, make an impact with your holiday shopping by supporting local businesses! You’ll find unique gifts for your loved ones and keep money in the local economy to build vibrant communities we’re proud to call home.

Visit to find local deals, events, and more.

Join us in helping to spread the word about the importance of shopping locally for the holidays!

So I guess that means to avoid those large corporate chain stores like Walmart, KMart, etc. and try to help the local small businesses in town by shopping & eating there. Black Friday (the big shopping day after Thanksgiving) is almost upon us, so get ready to shop local!

Enjoy the upcoming holidays in November and December.

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Carolyn Classen
Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, (since Jan. 2013).


  1. I have questions about the annual call from local business interests to “buy local.” Their argument is that buying from local businesses will benefit our community because they hire locals and that money spent and circulated here will help our schools and libraries and presumably other public services. However, to what extent do these local businesses support tax or bond measures for schools and libraries in our community? My impression is that the local chambers of commerce have generally opposed school bond issues or any rise in taxes no matter the reason or the public good that may be served. I also question whether local businesses themselves buy locally or only on the basis of cost.

    In addition, my impression is that local business interests support the election of politicians who promise to lower taxes, who promise not to follow the law passed by voter initiatives to fund public schools adequately, and who provide generous tax breaks and other forms of corporate welfare from cities, counties, and the State. For example, it was recently in the news that the State paid out more than 100 million dollars in subsidies to Arizona businesses, the recipients of which were kept secret. One of these businesses is Amazon. I suspect that the State’s subsidies do not help small, local businesses, but I do not know of any objections to this from chambers of commerce. These subsidies increase the tax burdens of the average taxpayer, and encourage non-local, online buying from out of state businesses to avoid our high sales taxes. On the other hand, buying online helps to provide more competition and helps to keep prices lower.

    Just what differentiates a “local” business? National and multinational chain stores and food markets, our natural gas, electric, telecommunication, banking service providers, and other large corporations doing business locally also hire locals; but they send much of their income out of Arizona, if not out of country. (A subset of these businesses, e.g., local public utilities, could be municipally owned, which would result in greater local circulation of their income. It could also result in lower utility bills and improved service. For one example, Chattanooga Tennessee has a municipally owned broadband network that provides internet speeds of a gigabit per second.)

    I like the idea of buying from small, local businesses, but methinks there is much self-serving hypocrisy in the “buy local” mantra that local business interests love to chant.

    • Hi Mike! I work for Local First Arizona and I thought I would answer your questions.

      I’ll start with this: We are a nonprofit organization, and while we do have a business membership, we do not consider ourselves a chamber of commerce. Our memberships are also much more affordable than many of the chamber memberships I’ve seen. Many chambers of commerce also include national chains in their membership, while we limit our membership to businesses that are specific and local to Arizona. In short, our mission is specifically to make AZ a better place to live through supporting local businesses. You can read more about our organization here:

      Our basis for this is a series of studies that show more money stays in the local economy when you support local businesses, up to four times as much in some instances. This means that money recirculates in Arizona and goes towards local job creation, more tax revenues for public schools and safety, and overall more vibrant communities. You can read more about these studies here:

      I’ll also say that while we do have our annual call to shop local for the holidays (as it is the biggest spending time of the year), our call to buy local extends throughout the entire year and for all and every occasion. We want people to think “Local First” whenever possible.

      I’m not sure it’s fair to lump all small/local business owners in to one group. Sure, there are business organizations out there that advocate on behalf of specific issues, some “conservative” and some “liberal,” but if you think you’ll do better for your community by shopping at a national chain business then a local business I would beg to differ.

      Personally, our organization does not do any endorsements or much lobbying, except for issues that directly impact our organization and our mission. For example, we’ve worked with many municipalities to craft buy local initiatives and have also helped them to move money into local banks.

      It’s true that not every business is perfect, but part of our mission is to get our 2,500+ members (and growing) to also embrace the Local First message and source their services and products locally. You’re right in that it doesn’t make sense to encourage consumers to shop local when that local business doesn’t in turn do the same. Our study with CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company illustrates how important this point is, as they source 80%+ locally and this in turn helps create and support thousands of jobs outside of their own business:

      I hope this better explains our mission and answers some of your questions. Our support of local businesses is sincere, and I hope you take the time to read more about our organization and our efforts. Happy local holiday shopping!

    • Yes AZterritory that is a good habit, but the Local First AZ people have to start somewhere small. This is a capitalistic society after all, and people love those mega chain stores.

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